Arsenal 0 – 0 Chelsea: Dreadful game, disappointing result, good weekend

Match Report | Highlights | Arsene’s reaction

I was furious at how Arsenal allowed the game to pass them by…
Chelsea are already in one major cup final, and could make it two.  This was, in many respects, our equivalent.  After defeat against Wigan, a win was required to restore momentum and build a protective cushion between us and the chasing pack.  I was bang up for this game, and had been excited all week.  However, from the first five minutes I couldn’t help but think that the players didn’t feel the same.  The game opened with a prolonged period of possession from the Arsenal back four, knocking it back and forth across the width of the pitch – there was no pressure from Chelsea’s attack, and little intent of driving forward from Arsenal.

It made for an incredibly dull game…
It burst briefly in to life at the latter end of each half, with Arsenal making most of the running, but it was more the most part an uninspiring affair.  It had the feel of an end-of-season game in which nothing was at stake.  And yet, bizarrely, there was a huge opportunity for both sides to secure a vital three points.  Neither team was at the races, and the game was there to be won for anyone who could find an extra gear.  However both sides seem to play with, as the Arsene Wenger might say, the “handbrake on”.

Arsenal’s midfield lacked shape and authority…
Mikel Arteta was a huge miss.  He is disciplined in his positioning, and intelligent in his use of the ball.  At the best of times, Aaron Ramsey isn’t really either of those things, and out of form and out of position he fell well shot of the Spaniards standards.  Alex Song was also poor alongside him, and Chelsea looked relatively comfortable in the middle of the park.

Abou Diaby could have a big part to play…
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him taking the field with half an hour or so to play, but I was impressed in flashes.  With Arteta out for the rest of the season, Diaby (and indeed Francis Coquelin, who is also fit again) could be a key figure between now and the end of May.

That said, we did have chances…
With a fresher Robin van Persie, we’d probably have won the game.  Laurent Koscielny also struck the bar with a free header, and if any side was going to win it I was sure it’d be us – partly because of the inexplicable selfishness of Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge, who ruined several counter-attacks by failing to make obvious passes to team-mates.

I was possibly a little harsh on the team…
I’m sure they were up for it.  I’m sure they wanted to win.  We’re probably just a little jaded.  Due to injuries and lack of quality options, we have not been able to rotate the side much all season long.  Inevitably, we’re suffering a little for that in the final straight.

Spurs’ defeat made it a better weekend…
Every time I expect Tottenham’s form to pick up, they confound me with yet another disastrous result.  Their form is so patchy that Newcastle are arguably now the greatest threat to our third-placed position.  Arsenal have three games to go – our next, a trip to Stoke, is arguably the toughest.  That said, none of the three sides we face (Stoke, Norwich, WBA) have much to play for.  We should aim for nothing less than nine points, though I suspect six will be enough to claim third spot.

RVP is a deserving Player of the Year…
Despite his recent ill-fortune in front of goal, he has been a cut above everyone else in the Premier League this season, and is richly deserving of following in the foot-steps of the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp by being voted the PFA Player of the Year.  There can be few greater honours than being recognised by your fellow professionals, and I hope this individual gong will be followed by the trophies his class richly deserves – with Arsenal, of course.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.


  1. Enjoy   •  


  2. Mitch   •  

    Song may have been not at his best, yet he still created at least 2 clear-cut chances that RVP spurned. Ramsey improved a lot in the second half when he was allowed a little more freedom in his preferred role. Had that one great long pass to RVP too.

    Arteta has been a great acquisition for us, but while his ball retention has been excellent, we should bear in mind that he doesn’t create a lot of chances.

    The price of creating goalscoring opportunities is that sometimes you try things that don’t come off. As Arsenal fans we need to realise that we can’t have a whole team of players like Arteta playing keep-ball. Possession is important but is not an end in itself.

  3. Wegrice Weguamba   •  

    I think we’re nailed on favourites for that 3rd place trophy. It’ll be an incredible achievement consider our disastrous early form. I think the lads deserve a big pat on the back for their grit, determination and cojones for putting in the hard yards and playing like real men in knee-high socks.

  4. Daniel   •  

    I think being “impressed in flashes” sums up Abou Diaby’s entire career. I would love for him to prove us wrong and be consistent but won’t in any way be counting on him…

  5. Wegrice Weguamba   •  

    I think both sides were content with a 0-0 scoreline. The Arsenal maintained their advantage over their rivals, and Chelsea saved something in reserve for their impending clash with Barcelona.

    I think Barcelona will need to rethink their approach to the game when this season finishes. They might like playing with 10 midfielders on the pitch, but it cost them against Chelsea when their attackers weren’t specialist finishers. If they had a Francis Jeffers in the side, then wow… they would’ve scored 3-4 against Chelsea!

    Barcelona remind me of the Arsenal five years ago. We were crying out for two or three quality signings of the traditional nature (centre-back, defensive midfielder, centre forward), but Arsenal kept buying attacking midfielding Frenchies in the vain hope that Frenchies are adaptable enough.

  6. Wegrice Weguamba   •  

    I’m reading comments on Untold Arsenal about how THIS summer is the one where Wenger will finally spend money, and how we’ll finally challenge for the league after making two or three SUPER signings…..


  7. Me   •  

    “That said, none of the three sides we face (Stoke, Norwich, WBA) have much to play for. We should aim for nothing less than nine points, though I suspect six will be enough to claim third spot.”

    We should aim for 9 points against average teams that have nothing to play for???

    Genius statement.

    Also, when I get hungry, I should eat.

    Dont forget everyone, when u are tired tonight, go to sleep.

    • Bona   •  

      What is your point? Or do you disagree? Should we not go for nine points in these games? Help me out?

      • WRINKLY VOYEUR   •  

        you’re beyond help.

        • Bona   •  


        • Bona   •  

          I think Barca should have aimed for a victory against Chelsea last night, do you agree?

        • Bona   •  

          Oh!!! Now I get it. To aim for nine points is a given, because we should always aim at winning any game, and by that we should all sleep when we get tired.

          But that is crazy talk. If it was two games to go and Arsenal where 4 points clear of Utd and we played Utd in that 2nd last game. It would be clear for any normal person that it would be better to aim for a draw than a win, the reason for that is very obviouse indeed.If you go for a win it is easier to lose. Do you get it mate. Like the stoke game, I would rather aim for one point and get it than aim for 3 and get none. Especially with the games N`cast and spurs have in the next four games. This my friend is easy probability mathematics.

      • Wegrice Weguamba   •  

        I think he’s saying that you should be more deft in your commenting. Like, try comparing Arsenal to a summer’s day, and then compare the next few fixtures like fluffy sheep in the English countryside on a summer’s day with no one around to cast judgement on your choice of picnicking companions.

  8. the boyhill gooner   •  

    good post i to thought we were being cautious i dont know why three points were there for the taking although the mood brightened when we heard the qpr result.

  9. the boyhill gooner   •  

    nine points should certainly be expected from our last three games but with our record against the so called lower teams we could see a couple dropped.

  10. R.S.P.C.Arsenal   •  

    how poor is the prem this year if we finish third…?

  11. R.S.P.C.Arsenal   •  

    we may get 6 from 9… stoke will be a loss…

  12. Gerard   •  

    Of all the signings we have been linked with in the past months, the one we really need is Vertongen. His versatility allows him to be played as CB, FB and CDM. Considering how injury prone our team is, a quality utility man is seriously needed.
    Poor game against Chelsea, we really need Van Persie in form again :/

  13. RVB   •  

    It’s a ridiculous performance. No enough invention. Complain all we want but we don’t have a plan B. Especially when the other alternative CF suck right now. RVP is just too tired and abit anxious about his ‘drought’.

    Football is a confidence and momentum sport and I think playing a lone CF will always make it hard for other strikers to get any chance to build up form after a patch or to get into shape.

    No one is going to replace RVP unless he’s injured. But if we play Chamakh week in week out next to RVP, he might improve.

    Our lone CF position is almost like the goalie position in that sense. Remember how painful it was to find a replacement? Except in the CF case, it’s much harder to expect him to be in top form in the entire season.

    I say go back to 442. Our backline has improved much. We should be able to rely on a middle 4 with Song/Arteta abit behind and Jack/Ramsey abit in-front.

    Arsharvin as a SS. *sigh* I miss him there.

  14. Kevin Schmidt   •  

    Sorry to say this, but Ramsey is the reason why our midfield is so slow, and without ideas. he didnt adapt to the tempo in prem league. he is a bad player. yeah, he can be good in the years to come. and yearh, we works really hard, but come on. He wont be any good next season as well. we need to sell him, or at least lent him out

    • RVB   •  

      He’ll be good next season. My crystal ball is made by Swarovski so it’s better than yours.

      Sell PingPong for 50Cent. We’ll get better entertainment, even on twitter.

  15. RVB   •  

    Oh where was I? Yes, it was a horrid game. We deserved the draw. Chelsea’s game plan was clear and we just didn’t know how to deal with it.

  16. the boyhill gooner   •  

    chelsea got what they came for they were happy with the draw though it could backfire when barca go through.

  17. shaun   •  

    well what do you expect , apparently finishing third is a trophy and arsenal have done incredibly well to finish third .we don’t play good football anymore rely on kids still learning the game yet ask the fans to pay the most expensive tickets to see not the finished article but unproven youngters who make quite alot of mistakes (to be expected)so before the wengerrite fools start with there ” if you were a fan for more than 1o years you would be grateful bullocks) and your not a real fan try supporting bullsh!t as for me it is plain to see that wenger is incredibly stubborn , and is the root of most of the problems we have buying poldoski now great should have done that two years ago to be honest we are loosing ground again at a vital stage because we have not bought the class striker we have needed for some time now ….van persie is tired and can not -play that position all the time as it is very difficult and exhausting , just imagine if we had a fit podolski to bring on …in my opinion that would have been game over because if van persie was 2% sharper he would have put away one of the two good chances I saw that came his way .

  18. Strangelet   •  

    See fabregas still playing great football and winning naff all. He should have stayed at the mighty Arsenal we would never have subbed him for the green hornets side kick.
    You can be sure the Barca board are going to look for some big Signings .. van persie!!!

  19. shaun   •  

    well done chelsea tehy deserved that as they used a very important weapon …experince lets hope wenger can see this but probably not lets face it .more importantly his love affair with players who maywell look like messi clones in training but more like curtis bramble while actually playing has to stop ….come on …why is denilson comming back ….with vela ,denilson,bendtner ,chamack and park you have to be looking at 250 grand a week in wages and we should be able to get 20 mill for the rubish and throw in the nervous wreck almunia on 50 k a week that 300 k a week we are literally throwing away on complete dross that means if we were infact managed correctly we could actually have an extra two truly world class players of use

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